A fine, moving, important work for young readers.

THE RADIUM GIRLS

YOUNG READERS' EDITION: THE SCARY BUT TRUE STORY OF THE POISON THAT MADE PEOPLE GLOW IN THE DARK

Starting in 1916, young women in New Jersey were hired to paint the luminous dials of watches—with lethal consequences.

The young readers’ edition of The Radium Girls (2017) pulls no punches. As in the adult version, it describes in agonizing detail the diseases that destroyed the lives of young dial painters who were instructed to “lip point” their brushes with each dip of radium paint. They’d leave work literally glowing, having absorbed such a large quantity of the dangerous radioactive element that they’d been told was good for their health. Moore tracks more than a dozen of the girls through their extreme suffering as the radium loosened their teeth, destroyed their jaws, ate away their bones, and caused lethal tumors. Even after the deadly aftereffects were documented, another company opened a dial-painting studio in Illinois with a similar outcome. Although these young women’s lives often ended tragically early, their determination to achieve a legal victory against the negligent companies had lasting consequences: Both important laws that would protect future workers from unsafe employment practices and improve workers’ compensation laws and a better understanding of the medical outcomes of radioactivity exposure, which also helped end nuclear tests, resulted. The only discordant note in this sensitive presentation is a single unnecessary, pandering sentence: “Grace recalled that even her boogers became luminously green!”

A fine, moving, important work for young readers. (timeline, end notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1034-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one.

THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

The charismatic creator of the Eisner-nominated Amelia Rules! series recounts his beginnings as a cartoonist.

From the very first panel, Gownley’s graphic memoir is refreshingly different. He’s not the archetypal nerd, and he doesn’t retreat to draw due to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Gownley seems to be a smart kid and a talented athlete, and he has a loyal group of friends and a girlfriend. After he falls ill, first with chicken pox and then pneumonia, he falls behind in school and loses his head-of-the-class standing—a condition he is determined to reverse. A long-standing love of comics leads him to write his own, though his first attempt is shot down by his best friend, who suggests he should instead write a comic about their group. He does, and it’s an instant sensation. Gownley’s story is wonderful; his small-town life is so vividly evinced, it’s difficult to not get lost in it. While readers will certainly pick up on the nostalgia, it should be refreshing—if not completely alien—for younger readers to see teens interacting without texting, instead using phones with cords. Eagle-eyed readers will also be able to see the beginnings of his well-loved books about Amelia. He includes an author’s note that shouldn’t be overlooked—just be sure to keep the tissues handy.

Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one. (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-45346-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more